Friday, January 2, 2009

When the golf pro said he had a birdie...

The last time I called golf pro Jeff Water, it was about a cat.

The one that was lying in wait on the seventh hole of the Mick Riley Golf Course and stealing golf balls. (Watch excerpts here.) It turned out to be two cats, Buffy and Gutsy, who had a taste for Titleist. (They didn't like the cheap brands.)

This time he left a message about a bird.

Turned out a starling has made itself the Mick Riley mascot.

Apparently imprinted on humans, the juvenile bird now enjoys perching on golfers' shoulders.

So we shot a Fresh Look on Life about the bird.

The guys at Mick Riley called the next day to tell me I'd forgotten my notebook.

"You should be disbarred for leaving your notebook," Waters said as he handed it over.

He was wrong, of course. I should have been disbarred years ago for passing off golf ball-stealing cats as journalism.

I'd brought my two year old son, Zach, along for the ride and the bird.

The bird wasn't to be found, which was fine with Zach, who was much more interested in the golf carts.
A few weekends ago we'd driven six hours to show him the splendor of the Grand Tetons and all he was interested in was the golf carts driven by the lodge custodial staff

But as I strapped the boy back in his car seat, I noticed a bird on the putting green.

Watching golf.

Its little bird head followed the swing and then the ball and then looked up, as if to say, 'Nice, but you didn't follow through. Got any Fritos?' It then jumped onto the man's golf bag and pecked through the pockets to look for snacks.

I walked over and, a small morsel of raisin bagel in hand, picked the bird up and brought it back over to show my son. Then I set it back on the ground and continued to strap Zach into his seat.

That's when the gregarious, bagel-eating bird, jumped in the car.

It hopped onto the steering wheel.

I opened the driver's door.

It bounced over to the passenger seat.

Now Zach was belly-laughing. This was even better than the golf carts.

Eventually I was able to extricate the bird and it went back to analyzing golf swings and panhandling for Fritos.

On the way home, Zach kept asking for the "birdie bagel."

So, if you frequent Mick Riley, don't worry about that cat hazard on the seventh hole. Regulars say they haven't seen Buffy or Gutsy in quite some time.

But don't give a ride to any strange birds.

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